Virtual Reality Applications for the Assessment and Treatment of PTSD

  • Albert RizzoEmail author
  • Michael J. Roy
  • Arno Hartholt
  • Michelle Costanzo
  • Krista Beth Highland
  • Tanja Jovanovic
  • Seth D. Norrholm
  • Chris Reist
  • Barbara Rothbaum
  • JoAnn Difede


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continues to be a significant issue for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan combat environments. A growing literature has now evolved that supports the idea that Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) may be a useful approach for addressing this healthcare challenge. This chapter will describe the history and implementation of the Virtual Iraq/Afghanistan system (now referred to as BRAVEMIND) for the delivery of VRET for PTSD in United States Service Members and Veterans. The original VR system, implemented in 2007, was rebuilt in 2013 using the latest available software and it leveraged feedback from clinical users of the first system to inform its design. The BRAVEMIND content and functionality was also expanded to support the specific VRET needs of combat medics/corpsmen and persons who have experienced military sexual trauma (MST). The chapter presents the context, rationale, and the early research with phobias that informed the development of these VR systems. It also reviews the literature applying the system for the treatment of PTSD and discusses new research efforts on the use of this software for the assessment of PTSD.


Posttraumatic stress (Disorder) Virtual reality Prolonged exposure (therapy) Service members Veterans Medics Corpsmen (Military) sexual trauma Assessment Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert Rizzo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael J. Roy
    • 2
  • Arno Hartholt
    • 3
  • Michelle Costanzo
    • 4
  • Krista Beth Highland
    • 5
  • Tanja Jovanovic
    • 6
  • Seth D. Norrholm
    • 7
  • Chris Reist
    • 8
  • Barbara Rothbaum
    • 9
  • JoAnn Difede
    • 10
  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Uniformed Services UniversityBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Creative TechnologiesUniversity of Southern CaliforniaPlaya VistaUSA
  4. 4.Uniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesdaUSA
  5. 5.Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain ManagementUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesRockvilleUSA
  6. 6.Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesEmory UniversityDecaturUSA
  7. 7.Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  8. 8.PsychiatryLong Beach VA Medical CenterLong BeachUSA
  9. 9.Emory Healthcare Veterans Program and Trauma and Anxiety RecoveryEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  10. 10.PsychiatryWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA

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